Video for NDP theme song lacks inclusivity

Although the music video for this year's National Day Parade (NDP) theme song is made in a novel way, I am disappointed with its overall theme, which lacks purpose and inclusivity ("NDP theme song captures spirit of S'pore's future"; Monday).

It gives the troubling impression of a Singapore of the future as a flimsy and boxed-in cardboard consumerist city-state, instead of a nation built upon real concrete and steel achievements, which characterised previous productions.

What I found more disturbing was the lack of representation and inclusivity in this production.

Although the featured band 53A has a multiracial make-up, and the performers are also multicultural, the actual footage focuses principally on lead vocalist Sara Wee.

The rapidly shifting camera lens pays only passing reference to the rest of the cast, who are mainly young and able-bodied.

Over the years, there has been heightened consciousness about inclusivity in Singapore. We celebrate the achievements of female fighter pilots, scientists, Paralympians, as well as a female Speaker of Parliament.

With the elderly population growing, we are adjusting not just physical infrastructure, but also mindsets, so that seniors have a place in the Singapore of the future.

Sadly, the music video for this year's NDP theme song gives the impression that Singapore is only for the young and beautiful - defined narrowly as the cardboard, fun-loving hipster.

It is good to try out innovative artistic directions, and the production is certainly outstanding as a commercial music video.

But as the video for an NDP theme song, it should encapsulate the social fabric and achievements of its citizenry, and be able to connect to the larger public in more intimate and memorable ways. One must not forget this more solemn purpose.

Liew Kai Khiun

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2016, with the headline 'Video for NDP theme song lacks inclusivity'. Print Edition | Subscribe